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About Phil

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    Different name, same guy.

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  1. Welcome back ;)

  2. Thinking of the Phil/Creamer mash-up back in '05? We were pretty close, eh? Pretty close indeed.
  3. What Legacy are they talking about? A legacy of widely-spaced lettering that shrinks disproportionately relative to the banner? If they've really got a billion bucks in backing, then this logo is the branding equivalent of Bill Gates' bad haircut. Saw this announced elsewhere, and thought I'd pop in to share my thoughts. Good to see things are still running smoothly 'round these parts.
  4. I had to come back for this. Wow. There's better stuff being developed for fun on a daily basis in places like this, than was paid for handsomely by Mr. Bennett. I'm almost ready to try and go full-time as a brand developer, purely based on the putridity on display here.
  5. Let me try to sum it up: EAST Hamilton The Skinny: The Ticats have third new coach in how many seasons? The core trio of Casey Printers, Jesse Lumsden, and Zeke Moreno is a good start, and Dylan Barker might be the next Rob Hitchcock, but this team is still at least 2 years away. Hamilton's big hope might be the futility at the bottom of the West: Edmonton and Saskatchewan both look vulnerable, so come the last 5-6 games of the season, we might be talking about a possible crossover situation. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Kicker: They don't often get much attention in training camp, especially in Hamilton where a few months ago, Nick Setta appeared pretty comfortable. But Ara Tchobanian just so happens to be one of the more exciting kicking prospects to emerge from CIS football in the last few years, and Setta's got that nationality thing working against him... Burning Questions: Can Lumsden return to form after injury? Will Printers be able to stay focused if the losses hit double-digits? How much will we see the latest #1 overall pick? Montreal The Skinny: Are they playing Calvillo or Brady? Calvillo looked strangely human last year, probably his worst year since he got to Montreal (on and off the field). He's got game left, but a few losses, and we'll probably see Marcus Brady out there. Front office concerns with Jim Popp and his ego versus whoever they've got coaching (especially if that's Jim Popp himself)... and dissatisfaction might mount with the recent loss of a first round pick due to salary cap violations. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Tailback: Jarret Payton, Mike Imoh, Dahrran Diedrick, and even little Avon Cobourne got snaps at tailback last year. Diedrick's a Canuck who might slip to fullback, but then you're taking time away from Mike Vilimek? And what to do with another Canadian, Kerry Carter, with NFL pedigree? Burning Questions: Who's really in control of this team? Can the Als' offensive line return to form and give Calvillo a chance? With the Grey Cup in their backyard, will the pressure to perform this year raise or raze the team? Toronto The Skinny: Made the biggest splash in the offseason signing 2007 MOP Kerry Joseph to play QB and take over for similarly-styled and last year's breakout star Michael Bishop. Rich Stubler takes over as Head Coach for Pinball, and at some point the dollar figures are going to have to shake-down - you can't pay 3 veteran CFL QBs for a whole season and field a competitive team. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Toss-up between the guys behind Kerry Joseph, on the field and on the depth chart. Tailback should be fun, because Jeff Johnson, Tyler Ebell and Dominique Dorsey all having strong cases for serious playing time, and Kojo Aidoo, Andre Durie and Da'Shawn Thomas also in the mix. And the backup QB job may not be a hotly contested job because the one who's going to get it doesn't want it... so Michael Bishop, Damon Allen, and unknown quantities in Reggie McNeal and Cody Pickett will be attracting a lot of eyeballs. Burning Questions: We know Stubler's an defensive genius, but with Pinball distancing himself from the on-field product, will we see a difference? How will Bishop respond to backup duties? Does Kerry Joseph have enough weapons to be successful? Winnipeg The Skinny: Surprised everybody in town by re-signing "the big 3" (OL Dan Goodspeed, OL Matt Sheridan, DL Tom Canada), extending the contract of QB Kevin Glenn and luring the G.O.A.T. (no bias ) back from the brink of retirement. Expect some training camp shakeup to get under the cap (CB Juran Bolden may be a cap casualty), but by and large this is the same team many believe was a botched snap in the semis away from hoisting the cup. Training Camp Battle to Watch: The Bombers learned the value of an experienced backup in the Grey Cup; now they appear set to have as many as four inexperienced arms competing for the job at camp. Ryan Dinwiddie, who made his much-heralded first start in the Grey Cup, didn't impress but didn't embarrass himself either. College stars Zac Taylor and Bryan Randall may well be in the mix, and coaches are said to be very excited about one Cleve McCoy. With most other top-tier CFL teams boasting a pair of qualified QBs, Winnipeg hopes to find one among this crop. Burning Questions: Coming off the non-throwing arm injury, will we see the Kevin Glenn of 2007's first half or second half? Milt Stegall appears ageless, but is Charles Roberts too? Will all-star centre Obby Khan return after losing his large intestine to colitis? The D-Line may be the best in the land, but what of a secondary that had a league-low 10 INTs last season? WEST BC The Skinny: The Lions have parted company with Dave Dickenson, which only partially puts their QB controversy to bed... Jarious Jackson and Buck Pierce have both probably earned the right to start for that team. The defence appears to be untouchable, continually finding new pieces to replace, even upgrade, departed parts. Can anyone stop the tandem of Cameron Wake and Brent Johnson? Wally's boys look poised to compete for the Cup again. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Starting QB: On a team with almost no weaknesses, it will indeed be the Starting QB job that attracts the most interest. Don't know if Wally's already stated who he plans to go with, but expect him to try and put this to bed early... but what if Buck hits a rough patch? Burning Questions: How well can Jackson and Pierce handle the pressure, now that one will find himself "The Man"? How many games will OL Rob Murphy be suspended for this year? How long can The Chinless Wonder (Paul McCallum) keep handling all kicking and punting duties? Calgary The Skinny: There's a new coach and renewed hope in John Hufnagel, who takes over for Tom Higgins. The offensive core of the team is intact: awesome-when-he's-hot QB Henry Burris will still be handing off to RB Joffrey Reynolds and throwing to great-when-they're-interested receivers Nik Lewis and Jeremaine Copeland. The addition of Dave Dickenson (master of the mental game) should help Henry Burris (not known for being brain-cramp free). But the defence is the major area of concern: the once-feared 3-4 defence is 3-4 years in the rear-view mirror, and gone are LB Scott Coe, Brian Clark... the young, dynamic secondary trio of Bannister, Browner, and Ruffin will have to bear a heavy load. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Linebacker: This unit struggled a lot last season. In comes JoJuan Armour, but will he alone bring stability to this unit? The defensive line isn't going to strike fear into the hearts of too many opponents, so the linebackers will have to be solid. Expect lots of bodies in camp and lots of competition. Burning Questions: Can the offence score enough points to give the defence a chance? Is Coach Hufnagel - an offensive guy - the guy to fix that defence? Having just returned to the CFL after a 10+ year absence, can he handle being Head Coach and General Manager? Edmonton The Skinny: The key pieces may still resemble the team that knocked off Montreal for the Cup in 2005, but the feel is very different. Danny Maciocia's tenure as head coach cannot afford another losing season. Ricky Ray, possibly the best QB in the league, has not had much help from an oft-porous O-line and difficulties finding a consistent tailback. Canuck WR Kamau Peterson somehow found a new pair of hands and had a break-out season, but they'll need that all over again and another huge effort from the amazing Jason Tucker if the offence is to score many points. A very unproven defence is another worry... flying in Fred Perry and Jordan Younger might help, but the difference might be whether promising Canadians Adam Braidwood and Agustin Barrenechea find their game. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Offensive Line: Apart from old stalwart Dan Comiskey, is there anybody on the O-Line who you could confidently say will be starting at the end of training camp, never mind the end of, say, week 6? This is a crew that has to step it up... Ray can shred defences, but he can't do it while lying on his back. Burning Questions: How much leash does Mr. Macciocia have? Is it possible that of all the QB duos in the league, Ray and Maas could become the best once again? Saskatchewan The Skinny: I'll try to be objective here, but it's tough; unlike the few 'Rider fans I work with, I don't see much hope for the Green and White to repeat as Champs. They've lost their Head Coach in Kent Austin, their MOP and offensive heart-and-soul in Kerry Joseph, arguably their two best defensive players in Reggie Hunt and Fred Perry, and Corey Holmes, the one-time MOP candidate that just can't seem to find a spot to suit his considerable skills. Sure, possible (if not probable) all-stars DE John Chick, OL Gene Makowsky, and WR Matt Dominguez and Andy Fantuz are back, but there's a lot more - a lot more - questions than answers at this point. Training Camp Battle to Watch: Defensive Line: I'm not saying this part of the team will be bad... it may even be a strength for the Green Riders. But unless this unit becomes superlatively good, coordinators everywhere are going to be gameplanning around John Chick and Scott Schultz and looking to victimize a defensive crew bereft of two of their key veteran leaders from last year. Luc Mullinder, Marcus Adams, Kyle Mitchell and Brent Curvey were all part of last year's Championship squad, but will be pushed by the likes of Ronald Flemons, DeVon Hicks, Barron Pullum and whomever else GM Eric Tillman brings into camp. Burning Questions: Can Marcus Crandell begin to replicate Joseph-like success? How will this year's first-time pro head coach Ken Miller do in comparison with last year's first-time pro head coach? How long until the Grey Cup halo effect wears off? Right now it looks like Toronto fleeced the Riders in the Joseph trade - will we still be singing the same tune come November? STANDINGS PREDICTIONS East Winnipeg (13-5) Toronto (11-7) Montreal (8-10) Hamilton (5-13) West BC (13-5) Calgary (8-10) Edmonton (6-12) Saskatchewan (6-12) GREY CUP Winnipeg over BC (at least, I hope so - Get Milt a Ring!) Your thoughts?
  6. It takes exactly as long as the NHL...yet no one here complains about that. ...that's 'cuz nobody asked me. Cut it down to 5-5-7-7 and let's get try and get it all in before June hits. Hockey's a winter sport, and even in northern Canada June is summertime.
  7. Oh Lawd, here we go. Winnipeg is in no shape or form economically ready to hold a NHL team. Yes, there's no doubt that they have fan support...but they don't have the economic support for it. To our credit, economically Winnipeg is in a lot better shape even today than it was two years ago when Lammy left (correlation? you make the call...) and all the talk about Winnipeg returning to the NHL scene was at its highest. A lot of that has to do with the dollar at par - going from 65 cents to 100 cents adds 50% to your revenue without even doing anything to earn it - but a lot also has to do with a hot housing market, increased immigration, and living in a resource-rich (if not oil-rich) part of the world. That said, Winnipeg in the NHL in the next 5 years is admittedly a long shot. I don't know, maybe the '10 World Juniors will change some minds, but for now, I'm not expecting much. My hockey heart and mind, as is the case with many Winnipeggers, has never been captured by the Moose and will lie dormant until the day when the Jets fly again. (If that's means it never happens, that's just the way it will be.)
  8. The old Cavs logo went into witness protection. It found a home similar to it's own (a C-named city wearing blue and orange), was flipped upside down and affixed to the top of a C, but even in that disguise, greatness like that cannot remain hidden for long.
  9. Yeah, it was... would've looked better in blue and yellow. Oh, and as a Christmas gift to myself (and to help ease the pain - materialism is the best medicine ), today I purchased a retro Blue Jays cap and Blue Jays jersey with Carter 29 on the back. I can say that I wasn't here in T.O. to celebrate an '07 Blue Bombers triumph, I was just 14 years and 2 months late to celebrate an '03 Blue Jays triumph.
  10. Yep, we lost. Congrats to the Green Riders, they have a great team that deserved every accolade they got. I said before the game that the difference between the two teams was that Saskatchewan could win while playing a less-than-perfect game, while Winnipeg would have to be as close to perfect as possible to win. That held to be true, although the Bombers almost proved me wrong. Ryan Dinwiddie played his heart out and, given his inexperience, I really can't fault him too much. Did the 4 turnovers (3 INTs and a fumble) cost us the game? In large part, yes, but he also held his cool and played as well as one could expect. He's the first QB ever to start his first game in the championship (NFL or CFL), and at the midway point of the 2nd quarter, I'm guessing not a lot of people could tell which QB was the MOP and which one was the first-time starter. The truly heartbreaking thing for me is that Milt Stegall will end his career without a Grey Cup. The man has been nothing less than the dream superstar - unstoppable athlete with a winning smile, charismatic nature, and a commitment to the community that is second to none. The man is an ambassador of my team, my city, and my league, and deserved to go out on top. Alas, that was not meant to be. Will this affect his legacy? I don't think so. Call me ignorant, but could I tell you how many Grey Cups Ron Lancaster won? Nope. Could I tell you how many Cups George Reed won? Nope. Could I tell you how many Grey Cups Mervyn Fernandez won? Nope. Could I tell you who is number one in receiving yards? Yes (Allen Pitts). Could I tell you who's no. 2 in TDs (after Stegall)? Yep (the aforementioned Reed and Mike Pringle). Stegall will live on in the memories of Blue Bomber and CFL fans everywhere as quite possibly the G.O.A.T. at the non-QB position, a player who did things no CFLer had done before. His best years were with the best QBs he was paired with - Khari Jones and Kevin Glenn - but those QBs would be no match for extended stints with Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia (as Pitts had). No, Milt Stegall legacy will not be defined by the amount of rings he owns, but the amount of times he made a play that caused jaws to hit the floor and crowds leap to their feet (or, conversely, to sit back in dejection - see: Edmonton, circa July 20, 2006). I really enjoyed my time in Toronto. Seeing the Bisons winning the Vanier Cup was really cool, and it's a wonderful thing for Coach Dobie and the boys from my alma mater. Seeing the Toronto sights again was a lot of fun. Seeing the Raptors beat the Bulls was great. And seeing the passion of a great CFL rivalry on the game's biggest stage was something I'll not soon forget. I was indelibly impacted by the passion of the Rider Nation - truly impressed by their commitment to their team. I can say without in any way compromising my devotion to my Blue & Gold - the Roughriders have the best fans in the CFL. (Having said that, I feel dirty enough to have to take a shower.) I sat surrounded by a number of green-clad fans - a family of four (two cute, brainwashed children and their parents) in front of me, some Argo fans/Rider-fans-for-the-weekend to my right, and Roughrider punter (and fellow UofM alumnus) Jamie Boreham's family behind me. And I can honestly say, I had a lot of fun. I cheered my lungs out for the Big Blue, they collectively outcheered me (barely) for the Green and White, and it made for a great atmosphere. I was really upset at the loss, but even in their jubilation, they were nothing but classy all the way, and I think we all were left with a greater mutual sense of admiration for the passion and love we have for our respective teams. Congrats, Coach Austin, Kerry Joseph, James Johnson, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and all of Rider Nation. You earned your third Grey Cup. Us Bomber fans are left to dream about what might have been if MOP runner-up Kevin Glenn and star defensive back Juran Bolden (and even star receiver Matt Dominguez of Saskatchewan) had been active and healthy - what was already a great game might have been even more of a classic - but alas, history isn't so kind as to allow any realization of such musings. Life goes on, the winners celebrate, the losers mourn, and everyone remembers that come next April, we're all undefeated again.
  11. There's a reason they still play the games on the field... Labour Day was a narrow victory by the 'Riders, Banjo Bowl a blowout for the Big Blue. Dinwiddie under centre makes a big difference, but he's an unknown, and that's both an advantage and a disadvantage. His inexperience didn't seem to hurt him too much against the vaunted Argos defence, and although Saskatchewan has an entire week to prepare for him, they don't exactly have a wealth of game film from which to distill his tendencies and weaknesses. Oh, and keep an eye out for our very own GMac's signature on these very boards. He lost a bet two years ago on a TNFF game between my Wolves and his Plowboys, and now he's going to pay for it at the... best... possible... time...
  12. Did I mention I'm going? It'll end up costing me nearly $2000 all told for 3 nights (almost $1000 airfare, $350 Grey Cup ticket, $40 Vanier Cup ticket, $360 hotel... and I haven't had a bite to eat or bought my Raptors-Bulls' ticket yet), which is ludicrous for anything but this. A long time ago I promised myself if the Bombers ever made it, I'd be there to see it. Last time they were in a Cup, I was 15, and the last time they won I was 5. So now I've got to pay up. Fortunately I'm young, single, my degree's under my belt and I'm getting paid decently. I almost bailed on the plan when Kevin Glenn got hurt. But then Milt Stegall came on the TV screen, and I remembered that Kevin Glenn was never the biggest reason I would be going, even if the Bombers' chances at victory are theoretically diminished without him out there. So if the camera pans by section 241, row 9, seat 8, look for the guy with a blue #85 jersey and a blue face (from yelling, of course - face paint is for children). Oh, and my brother dreamed the other night that Jamie Stoddard, #88 for the Blue crew, caught the game-winning pass on a broken play with no time on the clock and the Bombers down by 6. As for me, I'm just hoping for a replay of the Banjo Bowl.
  13. Yes, and Ricky Williams dominated when he was up here. (not really) Right. Didn't say every NFL player would dominate in the CFL. Are you really arguing that the best football players don't aspire to play in the NFL? Maybe I'm wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. But it seems to me, that the NFL is the goal. I agree that that's the goal, but that doesn't always guarantee that the top talent exists solely in the NFL. For instance, imagine if Drew Bledsoe had been a little more resilient... it's not impossible to imagine that Tom Brady or Tony Romo might never have seen extended playing time, time enough to make an impression and earn the starting job. Would they have made it elsewhere? Perhaps, but what happens when the next year, the highly-touted draft pick comes along, the guy with the physical tools that Brady or Romo don't have...? Suddenly you're third or fourth on the depth chart, with a quarter of a pre-season game determining whether you're earning a cool half-million in Texas or negotiating for a tryout with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It serves to illustrate that making it in the NFL is as much taking advantage of the limited opportunities and generating tangible results in said opportunities as it is about being the best football player. Many great players have fallen through the cracks before, and many will continue to do so. The NFL's money will continue to ensure that players aspire to play there, and that alone will ensure that the largest proportion of top talent ends up there was as well. But the CFL is loaded with individuals (let's see... Geroy Simon, Nik Lewis, Matt Dominguez, Milt Stegall, Derick Armstrong, Arland Bruce, Kerry Watkins - and those are just receivers) who probably could've made a decent NFL living if they had been the beneficiaries of a few NFLers on the depth chart ahead of them going down with Training Camp inuries. As it is, they happen to be well-suited for the Canadian game, and so they are well-compensated (if not extravagantly so) for their efforts north of the 49th. Additionally, the CFL is conducive to the inclusion of fantastic talents who, for whatever reason, don't fit the NFL mold. Guys like Pinball Clemons, Charles Roberts, and even Doug Flutie were written off by the powers that be in The League because they were too small. They've all had great CFL careers, and in Flutie's case, he proved later that even a David can have success in a league of Goliaths. The reality is that the NFL has better players, yes, but the CFL has enough quality talents combining with a highly entertaining brand of football to make it the best football league on the planet for hundreds of thousands of Canadians (and even a few outside of the Great White North) every year.
  14. Does the NFL have much of a say in relocation? I mean doesn't the final decision of where to move a team really come down to who the owner is (barring something rediculous that the NFL could stop). Also the relocated team's conference may come into play. Would the NFL want LA to have an AFC team with San Diego so close? You could change the conferences, but there might be some big time changes since the team would be moving across the country and switching conferences. I'm pretty sure the NFL Board of Governors have veto power on any move; that said, the owner would have to be the initiate the whole move, and so if he doesn't want to go to LA, the team's not going.
  15. I totally forgot about that... just serves to emphasize the point. For the record, I was one of the 29,533 fortunate enough to witness this historic event. I was one of those guys standing on the bench (yeah, bench, they were $15 endzone tickets) in front of me, hollering at the top of my lungs for about ten or so minutes after he crossed the goal line. He's been my favourite player for close to ten years now. I've met him once or twice in person, and each time you walk away with the feeling that he actually cared about what you had to say, and he appreciated the fact that you walked up to him. So even though I'm probably just one of the tens of thousands of fans that he's met in person over the years, I still felt like I had seen a good friend conquer one of the biggest records in the game. It's one of the top ten coolest moments of my life. Fortunately, both of his touchdowns were into the endzone closest to us - in fact, after the second TD, he tossed the ball into the stands, and a guy two sections over caught it, not thirty feet from where my cousin was sitting. If I had bought my tickets the Safeway she bought hers at, maybe that could've been me!